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Dr. Karen Patterson 

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Welcome to UNF!

 

You are joining the University at an exciting time: we have a new Strategic Plan and we are making striking progress in our national rankings, in the metrics of student success, in faculty research, scholarship, and creative activity, and in innovative approaches in teaching and learning. The strategic plan lays out our commitment to student-success, excellence, partnerships, and inclusion; our values of integrity, respect, accountability and innovation, to achieve our vision: "We will be the higher education nexus where diverse students, faculty, and organizations from around the world collaborate to creatively innovate for the advancement of society."

 

We are proud that you have joined us and we are here to support you.

 

In an academic career, there are lots of wonderful "products". We produce research, scholarship and creative works. We generate learning environments and the students that graduate with UNF degrees and certificates are, in a sense, "products" that we are so proud of. We interact with local, regional, and national communities and our work improves those economies, cultures, and quality of life. However, I urge you to not forget that you are also always developing another product... you. Please invest early and often in your own career development. Here are some Academic Affairs resources:

  • The Office of Faculty Enhancement (OFE) supports all University of North Florida faculty members in teaching, research, and service.
  • The Center for Instruction and Research Technology (CIRT) offers expertise, resources, and training to assist faculty in ways that enable them to develop greater capacities for using technology for teaching and research. CIRT also disseminates ideas, frameworks, and materials that apply pedagogical knowledge to the teaching and learning process. In these times of responding to the pandemic with academic continuity, CIRT has been a key resource for faculty training and support for remote instruction and distance learning.
  • The Center for Community-Based Learning supports UNF's community engagement and community-based transformational learning.
  • The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs supports the research, scholarship, and creative activity (RSCA) of UNF faculty.
  • The Carpenter Library supports the educational goals of UNF by providing information resources, services, and programs that encourage study and learning, supporting instruction and academic programs, and facilitating faculty research and scholarship.
  • The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) supports UNF's faculty and students in our proud tradition of undergraduate research and creative activities.
  • The Writing Center provides services to both faculty and students.

One of the most fulfilling elements of a faculty career is to enjoy the value of networking, interdisciplinary interactions and collaborations with colleagues from across the campus. There are many ways to achieve this but I encourage you to participate in the UNF Faculty Association because there you will meet colleagues from all of the colleges and learn about many aspects of campus work and the mission of our university.

 

In addition to the resources described above, I encourage you to begin planning your personal career success.

  • Become familiar with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and any approved departmental guidelines that provide evaluation, promotion, and tenure procedures.
  • Seek mentorship. Mentorship can come in many forms: from faculty both inside and outside your department and from outside the University. You can have mentors for different areas of your work: for teaching, for RSCA, for service. Mentors can be a most valuable, confidential, and objective resource for your career development. You can meet with then individually or as a team. I suggest that you are constantly asking yourself and others "who would be a good mentor for me?". Here is one article on mentorship.
  • Set stretch goals that will easily take you beyond promotion/tenure. Develop these goals in an informed way: discuss them with your chair/director, your colleagues, your mentors, and others. At each opportunity (such as annual evaluations), engage in an interactive discussion of your accomplishments, your challenges, your goals, and your unit's expectations. Use these opportunities to refine your goals and also to educate others about your projects and your discipline.
  • Protect your time and focus on the elements that will serve your long-term career success. It is important to do some service and to learn how the University works but achieving excellence in teaching and scholarship should be your priority.

Of course, it is important to note that this has been a challenging year for all of society with the COVID-19 response. UNF transitioned to remote learning in the 2020 spring and summer semesters and our faculty, staff, and students showed amazing adaptability, creativity, and resilience as they adopted thoughtful solutions to enable that rapid conversion. As the newest members of our campus community, I would like to direct you to the information that we have been posting regarding the past management of the pandemic and our developing plans for the return to a more on-campus fall term in response to the Florida Board of Governors blueprint and other guidance. You can find our communication by going to our Coronavirus website.

 

I would like to extend an invitation to each of you to visit with me personally to let me know about your experience in settling in at UNF.

 

Congratulations and good luck.

Karen Patterson

Interim Provost and VPAA